Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Friday said it was committed to bring back the mortal remains of Kalpana Dash, the state’ first woman mountaineer who died after scaling Mount Everest for the second time.
Dash, who hailed from Dhenkanal town, died while descending Everest, her family was informed on Thursday. She was leading a three-member team on an expedition to the world’s highest peak. Meera Acharya, Director at the Department of Tourism, said Dash died in the Balcony area while coming down from the peak.
The 53-year-old, who first scaled Everest in 2008, conquered a number of peaks across India and Europe, America and Australia in a career spanning 15 years.
The Odisha government’s sports and youth services department has already written to the Indian embassy in Kathmandu in Nepal about retrieving Dash’s body and facilitating its transportation to the state.
“Kalpana Dash had repeatedly brought accolades to the state. With her loss, the state has lost one of its finest. We are committed to bringing her mortal remains back to her state,” said Vishal K Dev, commissioner-cum-secretary of Odisha’s sports and youth services department. Dash’s body is reported to be at an altitude of approximately 8,600 metres, he added.
The Odisha government has asked the Indian embassy in Nepal to take up the search and recovery operation on a priority basis as the expedition season will end in the next three days. “The entire expenses will be borne by the state government. Dash’s family has also been contacted and assured of all support,” said Dev.
“Kalpana Dash was a brave and strong-willed woman who leaves behind an inspiring story for mountaineering aspirants to emulate,” he added.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled Dash’s untimely death. “I am saddened to learn about the demise of Kalpana Dash while descending Mount Everest. Her legacy in mountaineering will inspire generations of young women. My condolences to the bereaved family,” he said.
Dash had left for Nepal on April 23 along with Liyamu Ma from China and Kanchhi Maya Tamang from Nepal, said her family.
It is yet to be known if Dash’s death was caused by the long hours she spent at the high altitude due to an unusually long tailback on the peak on Wednesday. At least 200-300 mountaineers were stuck in a long line at over 8,000m for hours, waiting for their turn to reach the summit at 8,848m.